Reshaping engineering learning to promote innovative entrepreneurial behavior
Keywords:Engineering Education, Entrepreneurship, Innovation Ecosystem, Active-Learning Practices
Goal: To foster innovative and creative thinking in the curricula of Engineering schools, as well as other technology-based courses, contributing to the innovation ecosystems’ growth and sustainability.
Design/Methodology/Approach: The research was structured as an exploratory research and was conducted by means of a focus group comprised of representatives from Porto Alegre (RS) working directly with higher education and/or playing key roles within the city’s innovation ecosystem. The group’s discussion was analyzed along with current literature on the topic.
Results: The paper provides insightful perceptions of the obstacles faced by faculty members when attempting to develop innovative methodologies within classes so that potential partnerships are fostered by agents of the innovation ecosystem in order to better prepare professionals that will later be inserted in this new innovative scenario.
Limitations of the investigation: The present study is structured as an exploratory research based on a focus group discussion and analysis. Thus, as any qualitative approach, it might lack generalizability, once its purpose is to investigate a specific phenomenon and promote further investigation on the issue. However, all discussion from the focus group was analyzed and supported by extant literature on the topic, in order to mitigate such limitation and strengthen the research relevance.
Practical implications: The analysis and discussion obtained from both the focus group and literature are imperative on the need of critical changes on universities’ organizational culture to support entrepreneurial activities, as well as fostering partnerships with key agents within innovation ecosystems to better prepare professionals to the new market setting.
Originality/value: Although some studies investigate the relationship involving universities and Science and Technology Parks, few studies explore how engineering schools’ curricula can benefit from such alliances. Additionally, the present study lists a few hurdles faced by professors during the development of active-based practices, as well as alternative possibilities to overcome resistance in traditional courses.
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